At first glance, real estate is hardly a tech-fuelled industry: building design evolves at a glacial pace, construction relies on traditional methods, and the transaction process has barely changed for centuries. However, take another look: in a few short years, a mix of individuals, start-ups and established businesses have harnessed new technologies to address inefficiencies and generate new ideas.

Peer-to-peer lenders can crowd-source the funding required for new real estate developments, while 3D printers can create the components to build the finished product. Sensors deployed within offices optimise the usage of everything from lighting to desks, while intelligent buildings connect data from infrastructure such as heating systems and secure entry points to create a productive working environment. Online agents promise a more efficient way of trading or leasing, even using virtual reality to assist customers far away, and utilising blockchain technology to enhance the speed and security of the process.

Not all these ideas have been widely adopted by the industry – far from it. But many of them are beginning to gain momentum, which perhaps explains the excitement surrounding the proptech sector. Implementation can take time and teething problems are inevitable with any new technology. The important thing, however, is that the fusion of traditional real estate practices and processes with the latest innovation is creating a torrent of new opportunities, both for the providers of real estate products and services, as well as the end user.

Our own experience bears testimony to this evolution. One example is the use of data analytics which Deloitte is exploiting to support strategic business decisions for real estate assets. From portfolio improvement, to target market and customer analytics, interrogating this data with new technology is already transforming traditional practices.

Proptech is undoubtedly the most dynamic part of the real estate sector. In future blogs we will use our unique position in the market to show how technology will shape the way that buildings are used, not only by the people who work or live in them, but also by those who develop, lease and invest in them.

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